To get information in Spanish place the arrow of your mouse on the highlighted words without clicking.
Para obtener información en español acerca la flecha de tu ratón a las palabras o frases resaltadas.



With a population of nearly 4 million, Puerto Rico may be an economic territory of the United States, but its people are fiercely independent.
Rarely will you find an American flag flying high,
without a corresponding Puerto Rican flag nearby,
sometimes flying even higher.
We call this IDENTITY … and we love it!!

Old San Juan
To protect the transportation of gold, silver and jewels, on its route from America to Spain, the Spaniards built a series of forts in the Caribbean. The beautiful city of San Juan was founded in 1521. A massive wall and forts were built around the city to protect it from the enemy.

The city was used as a stopover
for ships that came from Spain and a stronghold to prevent the enemy from taking control of the island and making Puerto Rico an enemy base. These walls and fortifications are part of the heritage left by Spain to Puerto Rico. Today the cobblestone streets, interior patios, hanging balconies, plazas, and chapels make of this historic city a charming and picturesque place to visit. 

Military Adventures of San Juan
In 1595, Sir Francis Drake attacked San Juan in pursuit of gold and silver stored in "La Fortaleza". The artillery in "El Morro" effectively defended the city and punished the invaders sending them away with many casualties. In 1598, Sir George Clifford, Count of Cumberland, landed in San Juan and sieged the city but could not take El Morro.

After suffering exhaustion and sickness they were forced to leave. Even the Dutch, Commanded by General Boudewin Hendricksz, landed on San Juan in 1625, the Spanish resistance at El Morro made it impossible for them to take over. The Dutch burned down the city, including La Fortaleza, and left

Some Cool Places to Visit
A leisurely walk through Old San Juan is one of the most pleasant experiences anyone could have in Puerto Rico. The colonial architecture of hanging balconies and cobblestone streets make you feel like you have gone back in time. Here are only some of the nice places to visit in Old San Juan.

Paseo de la Princesa.
A great place to spend weekend afternoons where local artisans display and sell their work. Also there is live music early Sunday evenings and on many other occasions.

Massive City Wall.
Construction of this 42-foot-high wall that surrounded the city began in the 1630s. It is made of solid sandstone blocks and held together with mortar, limestone, sand and water.

Puerta de San Juan.
The San Juan Gate was constructed in 1520. This strong, heavy wooden door was the official entrance for those who came to Puerto Rico on wooden sailing ships during the colonization.

Catedral de San Juan.
This beautiful Cathedral, built in 1540 is a good example of Gothic architecture in the New World. Here in a marble tomb lie the remains of Juan Ponce de Leon.



flying: moving in the wind (flameando)
nearby: very close, not far away (muy cerca)
jewels: precious or semiprecious stones (joyas)
constructed (construyeron)
stopping place on a journey (escala, en un viaje)
stronghold: a fortified place (fortificación)
inheritance (herencia)
cobblestone streets:
streets paved with rectangular stones (calles empedradas)
interesting, fascinating (
in pursuit of: in search of (en busca de)
(conservados, almacenados)
penalized (castigaron)
casualties: soldiers injured, killed or captured in a military engagement (bajas)

sieged: blocked by armed forces (sitió)
take over: take control (toma de poder)
burned down:
destroyed by fire (incendiaron)
leisurely: not hurried or forced (sin apuro, tranquila)
gone back in time: returned to old times (regresado al pasado)
construction: building (la construcción)
mortar: a bond for covering a wall (mezcla de cemento)
limestone: a sedimentary rock (piedra caliza)
wooden: made of wood (de madera)
marble tomb:
a grave in crystalline stone (tumba de mármol)
lie: rest in a horizontal position (yacen)
dead body (restos). 


READING COMPREHENSION ACTIVITY                                        ANSWERS
1. Why did the Spaniards build forts in the Caribbean?

2. What did Sir George Clifford try to do in 1598?

3. Why did the Dutch finally burn down San Juan?
4. Which is one of the most pleasant experiences in Puerto Rico?
5. Where can you find artisans' displays and live music?